TTF: By approving RM150 million for flood mitigation projects in Penang (see news item below), Najib has done in the blink of an eye what Lim Guan Eng failed to do in 9 years!
Yes, the Penang Chief Minister spent a meagre RM11 million yearly (average) on flood mitigation but chose to donate RM220 million to tunnel consultants for mere pieces of paper! Penangites are beginning to wonder what happened to the billions the state raked in from the wanton sale of state land to cash-rich developers since 2008.
Most of that land is now being developed into luxury high-rises even an engineer could never afford a unit in. What’s worse, one of these projects was approved along a hillslope in Tanjung Bungah where a landslide recently killed a Malaysian and several foreign workers. The state government has yet to factor in the long term impact such projects have on existing rivers and drainage systems on the island.
When landscapes are altered, so will the flow patterns and capacity requirements of drainage systems be. Instead of deepening rivers or constructing better drainage systems, Guan Eng was more interested in reclaiming massive terrains of land through land swap deals. All of this came together last weekend to give Penangites a night they would never forget.
In the wee hours of the morning last Sunday, a massive rainstorm that had been wrecking havoc since the day before caused many areas on the island to be submerged under water. I was just a couple of blocks away from Komtar where the Chief Minister’s office is located. Despite this, not one of his exos, men or relief squads turned up to assess the situation or offer us assistance as we struggled together with business operators to keep ourselves safe. Can you imagine how all of us felt?
Was he not the one who told Malaysians in 2013 that Pakatan Rakyat could resolve Pahang’s flood woes in just one term if given a chance? Penangites gave him that chance, and yet, the island state was struck with one of the worst floods in Malaysian history. Can Guan Eng please explain to the people of Penang what he has been doing for the past nine years?
TASEK GELUGOR: The Federal Government has approved RM150 million for flood mitigation projects in Penang following last weekend’s devastating floods.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the amount was part of RM1 billion worth of 13 projects identified in the DAP-governed state.
“We are ready to increase the amount depending on our financial capability,” he told reporters after visiting a temporary flood relief centre set up at Sekolah Agama Rakyat Ar Ridhuan here today.
Najib also reminded the state government to be mindful of the impact of the environment when approving development projects.
“Avoid developments that can aggravate the environment,” he said.
Najib, who is also finance minister, is on a half-day tour of Penang to assess the flood situation following unexpectedly heavy continuous rainfall that left about 80 per cent of the island state submerged in water.
Accompanying him is his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and federal ministers Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Datuk Seri Mahadzir Khalid, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
Najib said a meeting between Putrajaya and Penang to discuss details of the flood mitigation projects would be held soon.
“The projects will begin in stages and it will be completed in a couple of years,” he said.
“We will top up the allocations judging from the seriousness of the situation but the actual amount is subjected to further discussions,” he added.
Najib also announced the setting up of the Government-linked Companies Disaster Response Network (GDRN).
“GLC like Khazanah, Mas, Pharmaniaga, UEM and Axiata will contribute to the fund which will then be disbursed to the victims,” he said.
Najib also said development projects needed to abide by regulations to avoid developments that can affect the environment.
“The state government also has to take into account development projects including housing at hill slopes to prevent such disasters in the future,” he added.
Developers, he said, should not make the situation worse.
“Do not place importance on profit only but also see if a development will affect the environment,” he added.
On complaints that warnings of floods were not forthcoming, Najib said the rain over the weekend was beyond initial estimations.
“One-and-a-half months rainfall in one day. Coupled with strong winds and water coming from Kedah… three unexpected elements happened at the same time,” he said.
Source: The Malay Mail Online